GeekDad Puzzle of the Week Solution: Playing for Games

Geek Culture

Image: Flickr/SteveSnodgrass cc license

I just got an email from Judd, who has been taken hostage by his wife for their 10th wedding anniversary and forced to an undisclosed location in Costa Rica with limited wifi coverage. And that’s why the answer to last week’s puzzle is a couple days late.

Here was Judd’s puzzle:

“Nora has been using my iPad for a while now, and is rather adept at playing games on it. She just recently saw the latest version of ‘infuriated avians’ was available, and asked me to buy it. I made her the following deal; over the next 3 days, she has to play both her mother and me at checkers, in an alternating manner. If she wins twice in a row, then we purchase ‘infuriated avians.’ If not, then no game (and, presumably, pigs take over space or something.)

I am better at playing checkers than my wife, or at least less likely to let Nora win. Should Nora play us mom-dad-mom, or dad-mom-dad if she wants to maximize her chances of winning twice in a row? How much better than my wife do I have to be at checkers for there to be a difference in strategies?”

And here is his answer, sent via carrier pigeon from the darkest Costa Rican jungles (or, perhaps, a beach):

“The puzzle this week was simple… Nora should play me 2x, as i am the better player, and she wants as many chances to beat me as she can. She definitely needs to play her mom, my wife, 2nd, the key game — if she loses game 2, then there is no way that she can win two in a row!”

Most entrants pointed out the nice little counter-intuitive nugget: Nora wants to play her dad, the better player, more than she plays her mom. Nice twist, Judd!

This week’s winner, drawn randomly from the many correct entrants is Todd, who adds that, “Her best strategy, of course, is to send me another picture as adorable as the one in the column,” at which point Todd would simply buy adorable Nora the disgruntled avians.

Thanks to all who played! For those who didn’t win, use the code GEEKDAD44AF to get $10 off a $50 order at ThinkGeek.

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